Toby Post

with posture stately and steady pace
and arse of trousers competing
for brilliance with black saddle

Toby behind high handles commanded
a Rudge grandchild to penny-farthing
adapted to accommodate uneven legs
left shot shorter by a Black ‘n’ Tan
hunter during the Troubles

Alexander on Bucephalus
ten thousand days conquered potholes
downpours and punctures across two parishes

on nodding terms with badgers
sniffing the morning out
with otters fishing at the sluice

was the moving road and passing hedge
plush and bare in warm and hard
the constant Hermes of penmanship
and five pound notes from Martin in Liverpool
of parcels with scented clothes from Baltimore
to Freeman’s ten children

defender of the sanctity of the bag against
mug of tea and drop of the hard stuff inducements
victor in kitchen skirmishes to keep skeleton keys out

seducer of me with a sticky bullseye
every time i answered the tinkling summons
and cantered to the gate to save him the trudge to the door

thankful eye twinkling and delivering voice
precise with good tidings great joy

21 thoughts on “Toby Post

    • Thank you, Chris.

      Toby is one of the great memories of my childhood,
      a man always with a smile on his face who made little
      of his disability – in his youth shot and left for dead
      in a drain by the black ‘n’ Tans, his leg damaged permanently.
      He was a local hero and much loved.
      When he retired after 30 years’ service they replaced him
      with a van and a snot-nose driver who made everyone feel they owed him a living.


  1. Beautiful ‘homage’ to a memorable character and his time – recollected humour and tenderness. This poem sums-up an era, now departed but so evocative and heartwarming, as conjured through your inimitable insights. I constantly marvel at the seeming-simplicity of your subject matter, quite epic in your skilful hands.

  2. A poetic journey, indeed… I like the poem and the way some interesting elements and references show up here… It makes it very intriguing….
    I hope you are doing very well, dear John… I am sending you love and all my best wishes!. Aquileana 😀

    • Thank you
      Dear Aquileana

      for the fine response;

      for now, the sciatica is ‘behaving’ but that’s
      no guarantee it will stay quiet…fingers crossed

      with love


  3. Anyone named Toby is bound to be jovial, it comes with the territory. I had a collectible porcelain “Toby”, big red cheeks, twinkling eyes, a mug of beer, if I still had him I would send you a pic! I truly enjoyed this. Wishing you health and happiness John. Love, Holly

  4. The Tobies are long gone and we will not see the likes of them again, our loss. The plastic people have displaced them or replaced them. Civility and duty coupled with an honest desire to serve and earn their compensation a characteristic whose value has been elided by the generation of non human personalities. There were many Tobies in various careers in the rural town of my youth. Regrettably none survive to serve as examples of a more compassionate time. Thank you for providing me with a mechanism to kindly recall those childhood heroes. Ever your friend, Jon Michael

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.